As part our efforts to protect wildlife, Friends of Animals works to introduce and support legislation on both a state and national level. Current issues include:
FoA has introduced legislation called the Africa Big Five Trophies Act that would protect elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos and giraffes. New York is the largest port of entry in the nation for trophies. From 2005-2014 more than 150,000 trophy hunted animals were imported into the state. We have introduced similar legislation in Connecticut and we support a federal bill — ProTECT (Prohibiting Threatened and Endangered Creature Trophies Act) – that would amend the Endangered Species Act to prohibit the taking of any endangered or threatened species in the U.S. as a trophy and the importation of any such trophy into the U.S.
The 2017 federal tax appropriation legislation opened the Arctic Refuge for drilling and the current administration is moving swiftly to allow oil and energy interests into the pristine coastal regions that is home to polar bears, grizzlies, wolves, muskoxen and more than 130 species of migratory birds. The Refuge, which as more than 19 million acres of wild lands, was first set aside for protection in 1960. Its coastal plain area consists of more than one million acres and provides habitat for caribou and bear cubs. In an effort to keep the land pristine, FoA is supporting H.R. 5911, the Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act, and urging lawmakers to sign on as cosponsors.
Friends of Animals is calling on New York City, one of the big four fashion capitals in the world, to ban the sale of fur. FoA’s legislation, if introduced, would prohibit the sale, offering for sale, display for sale, trade, gifting, donation or other distribution of fur products within the city. Known for its fashion houses and designers, the city would be the largest in the world to ban the sale if the legislation is approved. West Hollywood, Berkeley and San Francisco have already prohibited the sale of fur. Our legislation builds on FoA’s decades-long effort to put an end to the killing and the cruelty of the fur industry.
The heinous act of animal cruelty, known as crushing, in which the torture and maiming of animals is videotaped and then distributed on the internet would be outlawed as a federal crime under the Prevent Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act. If the measure, H.R. 1494, is approved, it would be the first ever federal anti-animal cruelty statute. The measure was introduced by U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut (where FoA is headquartered.) as well as U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. The senators noted that there is a clear link between those who commit animal cruelty and violence against humans.
Each year, Friends of Animals works to prevent states from allowing hunting and destruction of wildlife. We testify at local and state hearings on legislation that promotes hunting or management that is destructive to wildlife We also rally members to contact their legislators to denounce the hunts and protest with us so we can raise awareness of these issues. Most recently, Friends of Animals worked to defeat specific bear hunting legislation in Connecticut and New Jersey. FoA also stopped N.Y.’s Dept. of Environmental Conservation’s plan to wipe out mute swans through legislation that was drafted with the help of Friends of Animals and eventually signed into law.
FoA is currently lobbying for legislation in N.Y. that would impose a ban on all animal killing contests. The legislation states that it will be unlawful for any person to organize, sponsor, conduct, promote or participate in any contest, competition, tournament or derby with the objective of taking or hunting wildlife for prizes or other inducement or for entertainment. It comes with fines and potential jail time for violators. We are also encouraging people to request their legislators introduce bills that would make wildlife killing contest illegal in their own states.
Governor Cuomo signed the “Dining with Dogs” bill into law in N.Y. and it went into effect Jan. 1, 2016. New York is now more dog-friendly because the law makes it legal for dog owners to bring their dogs with them in outdoor dining areas in establishments that allow it. We had been adamant supporters of the bill and spoke at a press conference in Albany. The bill changes the New York State Health Code to allow dog owners to bring their pets with them to food establishments — it had previously been illegal to dine with dogs. (Some establishments allowed this law to be broken but risked serious health code violations and hefty fines in order to do so.) Now “Dining with Dogs” is the law of the land throughout all of New York State, and it’s win for dogs, for dog owners and for restaurants.